THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES 187
and found, or were proffered and accepted, the sublime experience of such initiation.
Many a papyrus text and wall-inscription proves how intensely the early Egyptians revered the Osirian rite, and shows with what awe the masses regarded those who were permitted to penetrate the secluded shrines and dedicated crypts where the most sacred and innermost phases of that rite were performed. For there existed an exalted and final degree of initiation where the souls of men were not merely freed temporarily from their bodies in a condition of simulated death, in order to prove the truth of survival, after the great change, but where they were actually carried up to the loftiest spheres of being, to the realm of the Creator Himself. In this marvellous experience the finite mind of man was drawn into contact with the infinite mind of his superior divinity. He was able for a brief while to enter into silent, spell-bound communion with the Father of All, and this fleeting contact of incomparable ecstasy was enough to change his entire attitude towards life. He had partaken of the holiest food that exists in life. He had discovered the ineffable ray of Deity which was his true innermost self, and of which the soul-body which survives death was merely the intangible vesture. He was, in verity and fact, born again in the highest sense. He who had thus been initiated became a perfect Adept, and the hieroglyphic texts speak of him as one who could expect the favour of the gods during life and the state of paradise after death.
Such an experience came with an enhancement which, although outwardly similar, was inwardly completely different from the hypnotic entrancemen*;s of the earlier degrees of initiation. No hypnotic power could ever confer it, no magical ceremony could ever evoke it. Only the supreme hierophants, themselves at one with their divinities, their wills blent with his, could by their astonishing divine force arouse the candidate to consciousness of his superior nature. This was the noblest and most impressive revelation then possible to Egyptian man, and still possible, albeit through other ways, to modern man.
The experience of initiation was a miniature duplicate of the experience which was destined to become that of the whole